Immigration law enforcement suffered another blow when the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recently announced the appointment of Andrew Lorenz-Strait as the nation’s first “public advocate” for the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE).
According to ICE Director John Morton, the public advocate position was created by the Obama administration to handle questions and complaints by illegal aliens over the various changes the DHS has made in the past year concerning the way immigration authorities determine which undocumented immigrants are deported.
As such, Morton said Lorenz-Strait “will work to expand and enhance our dialogue with the stakeholder community. We want the public to know that they have a representative at this agency whose sole duty is to ensure their voice is heard and their interests are recognized.”
Despite the fact that this “stakeholder community” willingly failed to obey US immigration laws in order to enter the country, the federal agency charged with enforcing immigration laws has now seen fit to give them their own taxpayer-funded lobbyist.
This irony wasn’t lost on Shawn Moran, Vice President of the National Border Patrol Council (NBPC), when he asked, “What is next? Will drug dealers band together decrying their prosecutions in one voice?”
Republican Representative Lamar Smith, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, called the move “outrageous” while Republican Representative Steve King said, “The President is making a conscious decision to evade Congress in order to appease his base.”
Nevertheless, Morton said the need for an illegal alien public advocate was necessitated by the “significant number of reforms” that needed to be “evenly understood in the public and advocacy communities.”
Those reforms were spurred on by the failure of the Congress to pass the DREAM Act (Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors) in 2011. Undeterred, President Obama circumvented Congress by offering “back-door amnesty” through executive order.
Specifically, in June 2011 ICE announced that immigration officials could use “prosecutorial discretion” in opting not to pursue a deportation case. For example, authorities would not have to deport illegal aliens if they are enrolled school; have family members in the US military; have filed a civil rights lawsuit or if they are pregnant or nursing.
That policy change led ICE Union president Chris Crane to say at the time, “Any American concerned about immigration needs to brace themselves for what’s coming. This is just one of many new ICE policies in queue aimed at stopping the enforcement of US immigration laws in the United States.”
Crane’s prediction came true rather quickly when in August 2011 Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced that ICE would no longer deport illegal aliens who have not been convicted of a crime. As a result, ICE placed on hold over 300,000 pending deportation cases.
Instead, Napolitano said that ICE would focus its resources for deportations on convicted criminals, repeated illegal entrants, those with records of violence, and those who pose a public safety or national security threat.
It should be noted that in 2010, ICE reported that it had caught-and-released 506,232 illegal aliens, apprehended immigrants who were released ahead of their court proceedings and deemed fugitive when they failed to appear in court.
However, the ICE policy has recently come under scrutiny when the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals stopped the pending removal of seven illegal aliens, all who appear to fit the ICE criteria of determining whether to put deportation cases on hold. Those criteria include such factors as an immigrant’s American family ties, length of residence, and age on arrival.
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